Imagine a small, picturesque island off the shores of Ohio in Lake Erie. It is small, but filled with trees and wildlife. Picture that same island filled with tourists and shady gift shops, and then fill it with cars and golf carts. Take that same island, and fill it once more with the smell of warm beer, unwashed college students, and the inside of a garbage can. What you are picturing in your mind is probably close to the island of Put-in Bay, Ohio. On the outside, it is a quirky tourist island filled with every variety of gift shop and pub you could imagine; it is a tourist’s dream. In reality, though, it is a smelly place filled with cars, mopeds, golf carts, and drunken college students. Do not let those things turn you away, though. There are many beautiful sights, sounds, and smells to take in as you wander the little island. When you first arrive, you will be greeted with the sight of the docks, a strange place smelling of root beer and mayonnaise. As you travel about, you will be given the option of riding a moped, a golf cart, or the car you most likely paid far too much to have shipped over on the ferry. In theory, you could walk to every destination on the island, but it is not recommended to do so as traveling too slowly through a densely populated area could lead to a swift mugging. The local fish hatchery provides an interesting side-trip for any young family fascinated with the diverse ways in which fish spawn. There is a beautiful park across the street from a long line of unique bars and pubs, and in this park you will find, among other things, the island’s resident squirrel population. Be warned, though, for though they may be morbidly obese, they have become extremely aggressive due to overfeeding. If all else fails, you can always stop by the winery and become intoxicated in a classier fashion than the average tourist.
My trip to Put-in Bay meant quite a lot to me because it will be one of my family’s last real vacations together. That fact alone made the constant lingering smell of week-old full dumpster worth it, but unless you plan to wander around in a somewhat drunken state along with most of the other tourists on the island, it is not a particularly exciting destination for anyone who does not drink. That said, its few reedeming features–the International Peace Monument, for example–are, indeed, beautiful sights that almost redeem the island for its shortcomings. The key word, though, is “almost.” Several shops and restaurants proudly displayed the slogan “No shirt, No shoes, No problem!” and I can only assume that the patrons of said businesses upheld that policy to the highest degree.
An interesting spot on the map, Put-in Bay is a bizarre amalgam of strange sights and bad smells, and it will certainly keep twenty-somethings entertained for years to come.
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